Wilbur Ross to sell part of Bank of Ireland stake

US billionaire investor is selling shares after the value of his investment more than trebled

Wilbur Ross, the US billionaire investor in struggling industries, is selling a portion of his stake in Bank of Ireland. Photo: Bloomberg

Wilbur Ross, the US billionaire investor in struggling industries, is selling a portion of his stake in Bank of Ireland. Photo: Bloomberg

Tue, Mar 4, 2014, 08:52

Wilbur Ross, the US billionaire investor in struggling industries, is selling a portion of his stake in Bank of Ireland, after the value of his investment more than trebled.

Deutsche Bank said in an e-mail today it’s acting as a placing agent of “an accelerated bookbuilding to institutional investors” of about 2 billion Bank of Ireland shares on behalf of Wilbur Ross and Fairfax Financial Holdings.

That’s 6.4 per cent of the bank, Deutsche Bank said.

Davy, Ireland’s largest securities firm, is also placing the shares.

“Given the appreciation in the bank’s share price and its current premium valuation, we are not surprised to see some of the original North American anchor investors move to take some cash off the table,” said Ciaran Callaghan, an analyst at Dublin-based Merrion Capital.

“In some sense, they have done their job and made their return.”

In 2011, WL Ross and Co was part of a group of investors that paid about €1.1 billion for a 34.9 per cent stake in the lender. The invetsors paid 10 cent a share.

The lender recorded a pre-tax loss of €569 million last year, its loss narrowing 73 per cent from a year earlier.

Bank of Ireland is now trading profitably and generating capital, chief executive officer Richie Boucher said yesterday.

Bank of Ireland dropped 4.9 per cent to 34 cent as of 8.02 am in Dublin trading.

Bloomberg